UK Athletics confirms bid for European Athletics Championships 2026

UK Athletics has today confirmed it has officially submitted a joint bid with Birmingham City Council to host the European Athletics Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium in 2026.

Working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, UKA hopes to host Europe’s most prestigious European athletics competition, seven years on from hosting the hugely successful European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019.

Whilst the UK has also proudly hosted multiple Major Championships over the last 15 years including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the World Athletics and World Para Athletics Championships as well as the World Athletics Indoor Championships, it has never hosted the European Athletics Championships.

UKA’s Cherry Alexander, Vice President of European Athletics said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to submit a bid to host this hugely prestigious championships for European Athletics. It has long been a wish of mine and many colleagues to bring the ‘Euros’ to the UK so we can give athletes across the continent an amazing platform upon which to compete and perform.

“We’ve been very fortunate to win the right to stage a number of major events in recent years, and with that in mind, we’d find it a huge honour for European Athletics to entrust us with its most important competition.

“We are blessed in the UK to work with many valued and important City partners and we have committed to working with all of them towards their major championship ambitions. On this occasion Birmingham have stepped up and we would love another chance for UK fans to welcome the best in the world.”

UKA Chair Ian Beattie, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to confirm this official bid for the 2026 European Athletics Championships. I am grateful to Birmingham City Council for their commitment to hosting the championships, recognising the opportunity to further develop the legacy of the Commonwealth Games.  It is also great news for the UK as a whole, highlighting our strong vision of hosting major sporting events in different parts of the country.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “We have a first-class record for hosting international sporting events in Birmingham and the positive impact they have for our people and businesses is very clear. They strengthen the city’s identity, attract new visitors, grow our economy and promote Birmingham nationally and internationally as a welcoming, diverse, youthful and inclusive city.

“That’s why we published a new Major Sporting Events Strategy last year, to ensure we develop a portfolio of future events, which capitalises on the springboard of our hosting of the Commonwealth Games in a way that maximises the benefit for the people of the city as far as possible. Major events motivate local people, encouraging greater participation in sport and culture, helping improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“The redeveloped Alexander Stadium, recent host to the Diamond League and already hailed as the best athletics stadium in the UK, underlines our compelling credentials as a perfect host for European Championships in 2026 – we have excellent facilities, in a city and wider region that loves sport, which also has a bold plan for a sustainable legacy from all events that it stages. We feel the time is right for Birmingham to become the first UK host of these fantastic championships.”

Background notes

UK Athletics

UK Athletics is the national governing body of the leading Olympic and Paralympic sport in Britain. British Athletics is the sport we represent, the people, the athletes, the fans, the team.

We work closely with the home countries to develop and grow all areas of the sport including elite performance, coaching, major international events, competition and grassroots programmes within schools and clubs.

For more information visit www.britishathletics.org.uk

Follow us on:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/britishathletics

Twitter – @britathletics

YouTube – www.youtube.com/britishathleticstv

About Birmingham City Council’s support for the 2026 bid

A report on the council’s backing for the bid is due before its Cabinet on June 28.

The report outlines a series of key facts and figures about the 2026 Championships, if Birmingham is selected as the Host City.

The council’s Cabinet is being asked to underwrite a one off contribution up to £13.7m which would be the net cost of the championships, noting that this figure would reduce with successful bids for funding to both UK Sport and DCMS.

The report notes that although the city has already secured two major sporting events in the World Blind Games 2023 and the World Trampoline Championship 2023, a successful bid to host one of the biggest global sporting events in the shape of the European Championships in 2026 would be a key legacy event in the drive to deliver a golden decade of events and would support the council’s Be Bold Be Birmingham legacy plan for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In summary the key headline projected impacts derived from hosting the event, according to the council’s Cabinet report, include:

  • Hosting the event would deliver c.£34m economic benefit to Birmingham (spend drawn into our city from outside of Birmingham)
  • £12m of the event budget is expected to be spent on suppliers/businesses in Birmingham
  • The event would generate 2,900 volunteers (volunteering at major events helps people develop skills that are transferrable and can help them to find work or improve their career prospects)
  • Increased global exposure and promoting our city brand/place making
  •  1,332 hours of live television coverage, with a media value of £26.35m
  • 366 million viewing hours (number of live coverage hours multiplied by average audience)
  • C.300,000 spectator admissions, equating to 120,000 unique spectators (on average people attend around 2-3 sessions) with previous events showing between 7-24 per cent will visit from overseas
  • 69-73 per cent of visitors to host cities for athletics events state they were more likely to return to these locations as a result of the event. In this case that would equate to around 30,000 of the 40,000 event visitors (as 80,000 of the expected 120,000 are from within Birmingham) being more likely to return to the city
  • In Berlin the five-year build up to the event saw a 30 per cent increase in young people becoming members of athletics clubs
  • Some 43-52% of spectators at the 2017 IAAF World Championships and 2018 World Indoor Athletics Championships said that attending the events had inspired them to do sport and active recreation more than they would normally. In this example that would equate to c.40,000 of the 80,000 Birmingham spectators being inspired to get more active
  • 97 per cent of local spectators felt proud that London hosted the 2017 IAAF World Championships. The corresponding statistic for the 2018 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham was 98 per cent
  • 91 per cent of local spectators felt that the 2017 IAAF World Championships had a positive impact on London’s communities. The corresponding statistic for the 2018 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham was 90 per cent.

 

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